Our dogs give us so much, so it’s no wonder we are always looking for new ways to give back to them in return. One of the best ways we can show our dogs how much we care is by making sure they are living their happiest, healthiest lives possible.
These days, there is so much we as dog parents can do to help ensure our fur kids are happy and healthy, and one of the most efficient ways is by ensuring they are eating a balanced, healthy diet.
And this, my friends, is where dehydrated dog food comes in. But what is dehydrated dog food, how is it different from freeze dried dog food, and is it really worth all the hype?
In this article, we are going to answer all your questions and then go over some of the best dehydrated dog food options out there in the hopes of helping you find the right brand for your unique dog.
What Is Dehydrated Dog Food?
Dehydrated dog food is considered raw dog food with the moisture removed.
The raw food diet has been all the rage lately amongst my dog loving friends and I can easily see why. Raw dog food is a healthy diet option for dogs with certain food sensitivities and it has been shown to increase appetite and even help improve digestion.
Unfortunately, one of the downsides of feeding your dog a raw food diet is that storage is difficult and the shelf life is usually pretty short.
What’s more, raw dog food is difficult to travel with, which can put you in a tough position if you have a picky eater.
Well, ladies and gents, enter dehydrated dog food. This dog food uses high quality food ingredients that are often human-grade, and are simply dehydrated to help preserve their shelf life and make storage and travel easier.
And yes, dehydrated dog food is considered by most to still be in the raw dog food category. This is great news for those of you who like to be on the move but who also like to feed your dog the best of the best.
But how is this type of dog food any different from freeze dried dog food, and which is better?
How Is Dehydrated Dog Food Different From Freeze Dried Dog Food And Why Is It So Expensive?
Both dehydrated and freeze dried dog food can be rehydrated with water, but the process of making them is different.
Freeze dried dog food and dehydrated dog food are often confused for one another or even considered by some to be the same thing.
While the idea and overall purpose of both dog foods are the same, it’s really the process of dehydrating them that’s different.
Dehydrated dog food is made in a similar way to jerky, using the process of air and heat to remove moisture.
Freeze dried dog food, on the other hand, is placed in special machines and uses air and cold to preserve it.
Both types of dog food are considered to still be raw food, and both can be rehydrated by adding water. However, there is some controversy over which is healthier due to the creation process.
While we don’t have a specific stance on this, we do know one thing – we like the idea of easy-to-store and easy-to-travel-with raw dog food.
With that being said, raw dog food and dehydrated dog food isn’t right for every dog. Let’s talk a bit more about if this dog food option is right for you.
Is Dehydrated Dog Food Right For My Dog?
Raw dog food is considered healthy, but it’s not right for everyone or every dog.
Unfortunately, dehydrated dog food is one of the more expensive dog food options available, mostly because the process of creating it is so lengthy.
Not only that, but the quality of ingredients in this type of dog food is incredible, which is obviously great for our dogs but not so great for our wallets.
Price aside, some may find that switching their dogs to a full on raw dog food diet or a dehydrated dog food diet is too rich for their dogs and can cause digestive problems.
Still, there are some benefits to feeding your dog dehydrated dog food, even if you are just supplementing it, mixing it in your dog’s regular kibble, or offering your dog some of these nuggets as treats.
Some experts believe the benefits of feeding your dog a raw diet include
- Increased appetite for picky eaters
- Healthier skin and coat
- Better energy
- Healthier stool
- Better breath
Are you sold yet? Same. But before you skip down to the list of our favorite dehydrated dog food products, we want to go over some basic characteristics you should look for in your dog’s food in general.
What To Look For In Your Dog’s Dehydrated Dog Food
Make sure you consider your dog’s unique dietary needs when picking the right dehydrated dog food
Because of their makeup and genetics, all dogs need a balanced diet rich in protein, healthy fats, carbs, and vitamins and minerals to help keep their bodies, coats and brains functioning.
However, every dog is unique and different dogs have different dietary needs. Whichever type of dog food you decide to buy for your dog, it’s important to make sure you purchase food that is specified for your pup’s age, weight, and activity level.
So, what exactly should you look for in dehydrated dog food?
- Quality Ingredients
- Age and Breed Specifications
- Responsibly Sourced Meats
- Food That Is Free Of Additives, Preservatives, or By-Products
The great news is that if you are investing in this kind of food for your dog, it will actually be tough to find a brand that doesn’t use the best ingredients. That is, unless you go through shady sources, of course.
But luckily for you, we’ve done some digging and found fifteen wonderful and trusted dehydrated dog food brands for all different types of dogs.
See for yourself!
The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Dog Food
The Honest Kitchen makes quality dog food anyway, but we especially like their limited ingredient dog food, which comes in five recipe options and four different sizes.
This food is a limited ingredient food ideal for dogs who have food sensitivities or food allergies. It is grain free and made with six ingredients. To rehydrate, all you need to do is add water.
As with all foods on our list, this one is made free of GMOs or by-products, or preservatives. Best of all, it is considered human grade and is fully sourced and made in the United States.
Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health
We now know that dehydrated and freeze dried dog food is one of the most expensive meal options for our canine counterparts, but that makes us love this product even more because they offer a trial bag size so you can make sure your pet is really into it.
More importantly than price and the trial size bag, however, is the fact that this food is organic and 100% human-grade dog food made with veggies, eggs, and organic grains. It is also free of any additives like preservatives or fillers and not only helps improve your dog’s overall appearance, but it will help reduce bad breath and stinky poop.
We love that!
Spot Farms Human Grade
When we are looking for a good dehydrated dog food for our fur kids, it’s important they are made with all natural ingredients. Look, if you’re going to drop the money for it, it might as well be the best, right?
We love Spot Farms dog food as it’s made 100% human-grade, like most of this food on our list, and it’s also made with all natural ingredients. It comes in six different recipe options and four sizes. It is also grain free, so it’s wonderful for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities.
This food can also aid in digestion and can be used as a complete meal for your dog, a meal topper, or even fed as treats.
I and Love and You Dog Food Topper
As we mentioned above, not all the dog foods on our list are going to be ideal for complete meal options. This is one such dog food, which is better suited for mixing into your dog’s kibble or wet food for a higher nutritional content.
It comes in four recipes including breed, chicken, turkey, and lamb and is offered in two different sizes.
This brand is great for dogs with sensitivities and is free of any additives like preservatives or by-products. However, it does contain superfoods that help boost your dog’s immune system and overall health like ginger root, flaxseed, and kelp.
The company recommends that you transition your dog slowly from his original food to this food, but we highly recommend reading the packing thoroughly to ensure you are giving your dog the right amount of nutrition he needs based on his dietary requirements.
Sojos Mix-A-Meal Pre-Mix
This is another dehydrated dog food meal-topper or meal mixer for dogs. It comes in a great vareity of flavors and sizes, from 8 pounds all the way up to 25 pound bags. When water is added, a 25 pound bag actually makes 120 pounds worth of dog food, so keep that in mind as well.
Sojos is a grain free food mixer made with fresh veggies and fruit. It is grain free but we should note it does not have protein. The meat or kibbles will need to be added along with the water to make this a complete meal option for your dog.
Sojos Complete Natural
If you like the Sojos mixer but you are looking for a more complete meal option for your pooch, check out Sojos Complete dog food. The protein is included and recipes include turkey and salmon, beef, goat, lamb, turkey, chicken, and pork.
You can also customize this food for your dog based on his age as it comes in puppy, adult, and senior, which you know we love.
Only Natural Pet EasyRaw
If it’s good enough for us it’s good enough for our fur babies, right? Here is another human-grade dog food option made of free range meats and other ingredients that help improve digestion and increase brain and heart health.
The holistic formula is rich in vegetables and free of GMOs and additives and is loaded with digestive enzymes and healthy fats like amino acids as well as antioxidants.
Best of all, your dog is sure to love it because you can customize it to his specific taste. Pick from four different recipes and three bag sizes and then just add water.
Made With Love Dehydrated Chicken Treats
These tasty chicken treats made by Made With Love are obviously not a complete meal, but they are a great alternative to fatty, unhealthy dog treats and wonderful for those of you in the process of training.
The dehydrated chicken bits are 100% human grade and made very similarly to jerky we eat and love ourselves.
All the meat is cate free and the treats are free of GMOs. Remember, while your dog will probably go crazy for these jerky chicken treats, this is not meant to replace a meal or even be a meal topper.
Of course, we always encourage you to read packaging to make sure you are feeding your dog the proper amount of treats for his age and weight.
The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Fish Recipe Dog Food
My dog won’t touch fish recipe anything, but hopefully your dog loves fish because there are so many benefits to feeding your dog this fatty-rich, antioxidant-blessed food.
And yes, this is another Honest Kitchen product we love not only for it’s high standards but for its variety in recipe and ingredients.
In particular, we love the fish recipe which, as we mentioned above, is full of Omega 3 fatty acids, helping to ensure your dog has a healthy skin and coat. Other ingredients include sweet potatoes and pumpkin help encourage a healthy digestion.
Everything is made in the United states and, if your dog is not a fan of fish, it comes in three other recipe options including turkey, beed, and chicken.
We should note that this dehydrated dog food is not ideal for puppies and is best suited for adult or senior dogs.
Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm
If you have a dog with special dietary needs due to diabetes, allergies, obesity, or age, then you’ll want to take a look at Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm dog food. This human-grade dog food is low in carbohydrates and offers a complete meal for your dog which you can customize based on his weight and needs.
The grain free brand is great for dogs with sensitivities and the low carbohydrate recipe is ideal for dogs who need to manage weight or have diabetes, as mentioned above.
Wellness Core Air Dried Dog Food
Wellness Core is a dog food brand we already like for it’s very high standards when it comes to dry and wet food, and now we have dehydrated food to add to our list.
This product comes in three flavors and is made with 100% natural ingredients and includes antioxidant rich veggies like broccoli, spinach, and kale. The product is high in protein and completely grain free, making it ideal for dogs with belly issues, food sensitivities, or allergies.
Depending on your dog and the recommended portion size directions, you can feed this product as a complete meal or you can use it as a mixer, a topper, or even feed as treats during training.
Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Air Dried Dog Food
If you’re worried about how to afford straight dehydrated dog food but would still like to incorporate it into your dogs diet, then using mixers or treats is a great way to include dehydrated food into your dog’s every day meals.
This dog food is air dried and grain free, meaning it is high in meat and therefore protein, and can be implemented into your dog’s kibble or fed as a meal or treats depending on your needs. It comes in three flavors including beef, chicken, and lamb and chicken. You can also get this dog food in two sizes including 2 pounds and 7.5 pounds.
Olewo Dehydrated Carrots Supplement
We love anything we can easily add to our dog’s food bowls to help enhance their digestion and keep them feeling their best.
Every dog I know loves carrots, so if your dog is one such dog then you should definitely look into Olewo dehydrated carrots. These carrots are nothing but, well, carrots, and you can easily add them to your dog’s kibble or wet dog food to enhance flavor and increase nutrition.
Remember, this is not a complete meal option but it is meant for supplementation. Of course, you can also use bits of carrot to give your dog a treat.
You can order this supplement in one pound, two pounds and five and a half pound options.
The Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers
Here is another Honest Kitchen product we love and you’ll love if you find the complete dehydrated dog food meals too rich for your dog or too expensive.
These toppers provide you with the option to mix the raw, dehydrated dog food into your dog’s kibble or wet food, add water, and there you go – a nutritious meal your dog will love.
The food is affordable and is made with plenty of superfoods to keep your dogs healthy and happy. Of course, like most of these toppers and meals, this dehydrated food is 100% human grade quality and is all made in the United States.
Dr. Harvey’s Raw Vibrance Base Mix
And finally on our list of best dehydrated dog food, we have Dr. Harvey’s Raw Vibrance, which is a base mix or supplement for those of you looking to add nutrition and taste into your dog’s kibble or wet food.
This grain free dehydrated dog food mixture includes 24 holistic ingredients including goats milk and shiitake mushrooms, and even eggshell membranes.
This is an ideal mixer for dogs with certain sensitivities or health issues and dogs who have immune deficiencies. Everything is made in the United States and is free of any additives.
Tips On Choosing The Right Diet For Your Dog
Feeding your dog a healthy, balanced diet specified to his age, weight, and activity level will help him live a longer, happier life.
Remember, picking the right food for your dog should be based on his age, weight, and activity level. What does this mean?
Well, puppies need to be on a dog food that is specially made for puppies, as their development and growth is happening rapidly.
And speaking of growth, large breed puppies and dogs require different nutrients than small breed puppies and dogs. In fact, small breed puppies actually have a higher metabolism than large breed dogs and therefore their food needs to be higher in calories. Crazy, right?
Along with the basic nutritional needs of your dog, you will also want to consider your dog’s health. Does he have trouble with digestion or is he sensitive to certain foods? Does your dog suffer from allergies or skin issues?
Diet often plays a massive role in all of the above problems, and choosing a limited ingredient diet like some of the dehydrated dog food options listed above could truly make a wonderful difference in your dog’s day to day life.
With that said, we always recommend transitioning your dog slowly from his old food to his new food to avoid tummy upset. And, of course, make sure you always read packaging carefully to ensure you follow proper food storage and feeding instructions to ensure your dog gets the best meal every time.
Madison Guthrie (also known as Sonny Mackenzi) is a pet care specialist and positive-reinforcement trainer who works most closely with anxious and reactive dogs. Born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, Madison developed a love for animals at an early age and spent most of her childhood outdoors rescuing stray pets and helping to rehabilitate injured wildlife. Along with animals, Madison also developed a love for writing and music. Over the past five years, she has worked to use her passions to help the pets and pet parents in her community build stronger bonds and live happier, healthier lives together. Currently, Madison lives in South Pasadena, California where she owns and operates Miss Madison LLC, a marketing company that focuses on helping privately owned veterinary establishments and pet care companies grow and thrive. She also works as a dog trainer at My Dog Spot, which is an award-winning pet care and training establishment in Pasadena, California.